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Bush to Create Large Ocean Sanctuaries

On Tuesday, President George W. Bush will create three ocean sanctuaries with a total area bigger than California.

The national monuments, as they will be called, will be protected from mining and virtually all fishing.

One of the marine monuments includes the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on Earth at 36,000 feet below the sea. Mt. Everest could be placed in the trench and be completely under water.

Each location harbors unique ocean species and rare geologic formations, according to news reports.

"These locations are truly among the last pristine areas in the marine environment on Earth," said James Connaughton, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Bush will make the designations under the Antiquities Act, which created in 1906 to protect prehistoric Indian ruins. But a reference in the act to "objects of ... scientific interest" enabled President Theodore Roosevelt to make a natural geological feature, Devils Tower (shown), Wyoming, the first national monument that same year.

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